Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy Hollandaise

The past few years we have traveled to Petosky, Michigan between Christmas and New Years.  We always stay at an inn that has fantastic Eggs Benedict that we eat every morning.   This year we did not go but the snow reminded us of those holiday breakfasts.  Hollandaise sauce is our favorite part of the meal, the buttery rich sauce is decadent and delicious.  It was a perfect meal to cozy up to on a cold, holiday night.

Most recipes call for 1TBS lemon juice this time I only used 3/4 TBS because often all I can taste is the lemon juice.  3/4 TBS was the perfect amount this time.  It was enough to "cook" the egg yolks but not too much that the lemon flavor over powered the richness of the sauce.  I also used a smidge more butter over the recipe's half cup.

Hollandaise Sauce:
4 egg yolks
3/4 TBS lemon juice
1/2 cup + 1TBS melted unsalted butter
pinch of salt
pinch of cayenne

Whisk together egg yolks and lemon juice in a stainless steel bowl over barely simmering water until doubled in volume.  Then drizzle in butter while rapidly whisking until sauce doubles in volume again.  Whisk in salt and cayenne.  Cover and keep warm until use.  If sauce is too thick add a drop or two of warm water at a time until desired thickness.

Sunday, December 30, 2012


On the 26th some places were blanketed with snow, we got just enough to lightly coat everything.  Yesterday we got another 2-4 inches.

I love how all the branches on trees and bushes had a layer of snow on them, it was majestic.

The garden looks peaceful covered in snow.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Winter Wonderland

We went for a walk tonight while it was snowing.  Everything looks prettier with snow.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Harvest

Even though the weather is turning nasty we are still collecting from the garden.  All of these items are being used in our meals for Christmas.

I have been keeping the leeks, carrots and parsnips in the ground for storage.  I have never had success with carrots so I was thrilled to see such beautiful large carrots.  The parsnips were also surprisingly big!

I also collected some thyme, oregano, and sage.  The swiss chard has not died back yet so I collect some for vegetable soup.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Preparing and Celebrating

Over the past few days I have been preparing for our Christmas celebrations.  One of the big ways I have been getting ready is by baking all our cookies within a 48 time period, something I normally do over multiple weekends.

Today we had our first Christmas celebration.  We will be getting together with different groups of family members over the next few days.  I hosted today's group.  Our feast consisted of:

Brisket in a tomato, white wine reduction

Smashed potatoes and parsnips

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

We rounded out the evening with a rousing game of Jenga.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Coworker Gifts

Today is the last day of school before winter break.  I have packaged the rosemary up to give to my coworkers as holiday gifts.  Hopefully they will like it!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cranberry Chutney

It's beginning to smell a lot like Christmas in our house!  This weekend I started doing my first holiday cooking by making my yearly batch of cranberry chutney.

The smell of the chutney in the house screams Christmas.  I always make enough to enjoy on Christmas and freeze a bit for later in the year as a quick go to item when I need something to take to a party.

We enjoy it the most on crackers as part of a cheese plate.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Too Warm

It is too warm for December.  My hydrangeas think it's time to start blooming.

It's also so warm that the bees are out and about.

I'm really wanting snow and a proper winter this year!

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Some new seed catalogs have started arriving in the mail.  I am going to be looking forward to perusing them over winter break!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

December Garden

It's been awhile since I have shown garden aerials.  Not much is going on but there are few things still left.
The only thing left in the raised beds are the parsnips on the far left.

In this bed there are leeks, carrots, swiss chard and herbs.  

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Bee Update

When I got my new job our lives got immensely busier and we became too preoccupied to check in on the bees.  We figured the only thing we were missing out on was a harvest of honey.  However it seems we also missed out on seeing if things were going ok inside the hive or not.  Now it's too cool to really check it out.
One day in October dark splatters started showing up on the outside of the hive.  After consulting with other beekeepers it seems that our bees have dysentery most likely due to Nosema.  We could medicate but for now we have decided to keep medications out of the hive.  That and we didn't really have the time to apply the medication and figured we would just ride it out and see what happens.

It is warm enough that a few bees have been seen outside the hive.  I am hoping this is a good sign.

Monday, December 10, 2012


The rosemary is actually looking pretty good for December.  I got a variety that supposedly will make it through the winter but it has been quite mild so far.

I cut about half of the rosemary to dry for holiday gifts.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Winter Arrangements

I love decorating the window box and hanging basket for winter.  You could pay a lot at garden centers for branches but I go and hunt them down for free.  The winter arrangements also mean I get months off from watering.  There is just something about the greenery and berries that just shouts out the holidays are here!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Acorn Squash

If you shop seed catalogs you aren't surprised to find typical vegetables come in many different shapes and colors.  But it's fun when you see your grocery store start to carry some of the different options and not just the normal looking stuff.  Today at my store there wasn't any green acorn squash just white and golden acorn squash!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Uploading Pictures

I went to post tonight but Blogger told me that I have used up all my free space on Picasa for posting pictures.  I am wondering for those of you who also use blogger if I delete old photos off Picasa will they still be viewable on the old posts?  I do not want to pay for picture storage so I am curious if anyone out there has  a good suggestion.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

December Weather?

This doesn't look like December weather, at least not in Ohio.  I have gotten sucked into countless holiday movies over the past week and in all of them it's snowing.  I am ready for snow, this weather just doesn't feel like the holidays.